Saturday, February 19, 2005

A fine kettle of fish

The Bremer-dictated "transitional law" that allowed him to escape Iraq without a shot was crafted, at the insistence of the Kurds, to allow them an effective veto over the terms of the constitution. This kept the Kurds happy, but even as the veto provision was inserted in the transitional law, the Shiites objected--but were over-ridden by the force of our occupation.

Now, however, the Shiites are contending that the new assembly can change that veto provision, effectively canceling the Kurds' power--which the Kurds covet so that they can exercise control over their northern provinces, including Kirkuk, which contains vast oil deposits. The Shiites contend the transitional law is not binding because it was produced during the occupation by the US. And, of course, the Sunnis take that same position, a position which, in effect, leaves the transitional law in effect only as to the parts that no one objects to.

Let me say this: I wouldn't want to be in that assembly this summer when these matters are decided. For that matter, I wouldn't want to be in the streets of Baghdad or Mosul or elsewhere in Iraq, where they are more likely to be decided.

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